Is the New York and Barcelona-based Letgo app the only contender out there with the power to defeat classified ads superstar Craigslist? Well, at present they’ve quietly grown to 2 million downloads since the beginning of the year and have just announced raising $100 million in Series A funding from Naspers Limited, a media company from South Africa. They’ve also funded a classifieds platform called OLX which just so happens to be a company that was previously cofounded by Letgo founder Alec Oxenford. He’s still on the chair at OLX, a company that serves 240 million users in emerging markets in India, Brazil and Poland.
This solid experience is what clearly motivated Naspers to throw down the cash on Letgo. Martin Scheepbouwer, CEO of Naspers Classifieds, in a statement about the investment in letgo. “We have seen firsthand Alec’s ability to execute on his vision as we worked together to build OLX into the global force it is today. In letgo, Alec has built a platform that is perfectly tailored to the American consumer, and we’re excited to help his team take it to the next level.” The app, which lets users buy and sell items locally is available on both Android and iOS devices.
Oxenford says “It’s a fun, easy to use, and highly visual mobile marketplace that allows users to post, buy, sell and communicate with each other instantly and for free…. perfectly tailored for the typical American consumer,” He thinks he can outperform Craigslist and eBay (jobs at eBay), because he’s mobile focused and has tons of prior previous experience. Letgo is “streamlined to make buying and selling locally easier and faster than ever, is a key advantage for our platform.” He reveals “There has been a lack of innovation in the U.S. classifieds space, particularly when it comes to mobile.”
When you look at it for yourself Letgo is very simple to use with its clean and modern design, use of clear imagery, and integrated chat. Since its launch in February 2015, letgo users have posted more than 500,000 listings and exchanged nearly 3 million messages. The real transaction occurs in the real world, but Oxenford claims the total value of merchandise is over $25 million. Consumers are using it for EVERYTHING, figurines, tools, even automobiles.
So for right now we have no idea how Letgo is supposed to make any money since they aren’t taking any percentages of the actual sale and no info was provided as to a future strategy so we’ll just have to see. It appears Oxenford and Naspers is just going for acquiring as much U.S. market as possible. They are already a top 10 ranked free shopping app in Google Play in the U.S., Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, Italy and Spain. In a few months they’re going to go all out in the marketing department so keep an eye open, and they plan on hiring a few more people so get those resume refreshed and polished. I guess 39 employees just isn’t enough, hunt them down and start applying.